Private Bare had been an employee of the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS), working for the London Tea department before he enlisted in the army upon the outbreak of war in 1914. He became a private in the East Kent Regiment, also known as ‘The Buffs.’ He was sent to fight on the Western Front. Bare was unfortunately killed in action on 19 October 1914.
The date of his death makes it likely that he died during the First Battle of Ypres, which checked the German advance through northern Belgium, but at great cost. 58,155 British soldiers, 50,000 French soldiers and 130,000 German soldiers were killed. There would be a further two battles at Ypres, and it came to be considered to be a strategic part of the front line.
Bare’s name is included on the list of the dead in an article in the Co-operative News on 15 May 1915. This list included fourteen names, all of whom were CWS employees who had been killed up until that point in the war. The CWS had decided to pay three months wages to the families of the deceased, and continued to do so throughout the war.
Bare was buried in Bois-Grenier Communal Cemetery in northern France. Like all of his fellow soldiers, he was posthumously awarded the British War Medal after the war had finished.
Co-operative News, 15 May 1915, page 643
http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/ypres1.htm [Accessed 11 April 2015].
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.